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Faculty Project Showcase
  1. Introduction to Disciplinary Information Practices - Teaching Students to Critically Evaluate and Create Podcasts in Peace and Conflict Studies

Introduction to Disciplinary Information Practices - Teaching Students to Critically Evaluate and Create Podcasts in Peace and Conflict Studies

Course: Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies (PEAC 111), Fall 2008

Professor: Tyrell Haberkorn, Postdoctoral Fellow in Peace and Conflict Studies.

Information Literacy Outcomes

1. Introduction to a medium used in the field (podcasting).

2. Critical evaluation of information sources in this and other mediums.

3. Initial participation in the Peace and Conflict Studies discourse community.


podcastingStudents in an Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies course were introduced to podcasts as a popular medium used by peace activists and increasingly by scholars in the field. Then they were invited to create their own podcast recording series that focused on silenced or marginalized conflicts. In order to form a basis for developing their own podcast, students were first asked to critically evaluate peace-related podcasts available on the web. This critical evaluation, which included appraising how effectively the authors used information sources, was reapplied at key points throughout the project, including a peer review of one another’s recordings and ultimately applied to their own individual podcast.

Professor Haberkorn was very excited about the increased level of engagement the project produced in the students. Many students reported that sharing their semester’s conclusions with a broader audience motivated them to greater heights. As students worked to be successful in a new medium, opportunities presented themselves for re-examining different aspects of successful communication, allowing students to hone their abilities. Asking students to employ a critical evaluation that included how information is used, and applying that criteria to various podcast recordings, e.g., those created by activists, fellow students, etc., allowed students to compare multiple approaches to using information effectively.

Key Steps:

  • Critical Evaluation of Other Podcasts - Students listened to two podcasts on the theme of peace and wrote a one page review of each podcast in which they were asked to address the following Podcast Review Questions*:

1. Who is the audience of the podcast?

2. How is the podcast constructed? Is it an interview, a monologue, a play, something else altogether? Is this effective?

3. What kind of information - and how much information - is included about the topic discussed in the podcast? Is it effective?

4. General critique and appraisal of the podcast: Are you compelled? If so, why are you compelled?

  • Identifying Sources To Inform Their Podcast - Students identified at least five different sources they planned to use as they wrote their podcast, and wrote 2-3 sentences of critical evaluations about each source and one paragraph reflecting on the process of finding information on this topic.

  • Writing and Recording the Podcast Script – guided by the Podcast Review Questions, students pulled from the information sources they had identified to craft the scripts used to make their audio recordings.
  • Peer Review of Podcasts – Students listened to three of their fellow students’ podcasts and wrote reviews for each using the Podcast Review Questions.
  • Reflection Paper on the Podcast Project – Students wrote a 2-3 page double-spaced reflection on the podcasting project addressing what they felt they learned, what they wished they had learned, and how the project differed from other kinds of assignments. They were also asked to include a self-assessment of their own podcast using the Podcast Review Questions.
LISTEN - Hear the results for yourself by searching for “Colgate” in the iTunes podcasting directory and selecting the “Marginalized Conflicts” podcast, or find the recordings on the Marginalized Conflict Podcast Series page on the Colgate website. 

While listening to the compelling student essays, note how students choose to address the questions of “purpose” and “audience” in their individual recording - some are reporters, some advocates, etc. Listen also how students work with information sources to achieve their individually defined purposes for their recording.
*Podcast Review Questions were adapted from: Church S. & Powell E. (2007). Making connections with writing centers. In C.L. Selfe (Ed.), Multimodal Composition: Resources for Teachers. (p.155). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press. Available in Case Library

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